The University of Maia, the University of Évora, the School of Health of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto and the Piaget Institute of Almada are the winning Higher Education Institutions of the second edition of FLAD/OPP – Mental Health in Higher Education. FLAD will fund the selected projects in 105 thousand euros, which aim to contribute to a lower incidence of Mental Health problems among students. This year, the contest also included private Higher Education Institutions.

The FLAD/OPP Program – Mental Health in Higher Education is the result of a partnership with the Order of Portuguese Psychologists (OPP) and the high sponsorship of the Presidency of the Republic, and aims to contribute to a lower prevalence of Mental Health problems among university students. In the first edition of the initiative, projects from the University of Madeira, the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo and the Polytechnic Institute of Guarda were selected.

This year, the jury composed of Ana Isabel Lage Ferreira, member of the board of the Order of Portuguese Psychologists, Ângela Maia, professor at the Department of Applied Psychology at the School of Psychology of the University of Minho and Ângela Noiva Gonçalves, deputy director-general of Higher Education, selected four projects to receive the support of the program. They are the project WELL.Be: Promoting Mental Health and Well-Being in Higher Education (University of Maia), the project MAIS – UÉ: Active Mind and Social-Emotional Intelligence in Higher Education (University of Évora), the School with NETWORK – Promoting Mental Health at ESS-PPorto (School of Health, Polytechnic Institute of Porto) and the project Knots and the Ties – Mental Health Promotion in Higher Education (Piaget Institute of Almada).

Learn more about each of them:

University of Maia

Project: WELL.Be: Promotion of Mental Health and Well-Being in Higher Education

The project is organized around two axes: informing and promoting & preventing. The actions are universal, aimed at all UMaia students, with a focus on the development of socio-emotional skills and the promotion of resilience and mental health of the student community. With the first axis – informing – it is intended, on the one hand, to implement actions that allow mapping the mental health of students in order to support data-based decision-making. On the other hand, it is intended to contribute to mental health literacy as a support for the deconstruction of maladjusted beliefs that may constitute a barrier to the adoption of attitudes and practices that promote well-being and the active search for specialized support. The second axis – promote & prevent – is based on a set of actions to promote socio-emotional skills, with a view to preventing mental health problems.

According to the jury: “This project was presented in a very differentiated way in its conceptual and methodological structure and integrated into the organization. As an innovation, it presents the Step Care methodology, which is based on the adjustment of the intervention to the needs of the individual”.


University of Évora

Project: MAIS – UÉ: Active Mind and Socio-Emotional Intelligence in Higher Education

This project aims to promote the psychological well-being, mental health and resilience of students at the University of Évora through peer education for psychological health literacy and the promotion and dissemination of emotion regulation strategies. The monitoring and evaluation strategy involves universal intervention with the active involvement of the student community through training in mental health and SRH through cascading training, the creation of peer mentoring processes, the involvement of the volunteer scholarship in the production of podcasts, the creation of spaces for sharing and debate among students and with students, and also for the organization and promotion of physical activities and the creation of volunteer projects in the artistic field, for the promotion of mental health, in partnership with the School of Health and School of Arts.

According to the jury: “This project was presented as being strongly involved in and for the community. It is a project more focused on initiatives to promote mental health with initiatives with and for the student community. With a pilot project already carried out and based on a very solid psychology service, success in its implementation is expected”.


School of Health, Polytechnic Institute of Porto

Project: School with Network – Promoting Mental Health at ESS-PPorto

The project takes mentalization as an aggregating concept, thus touching on several socio-emotional skills that are articulated in it, with a more explicit emphasis on mindfulness. In addition to the interventions with this stated focus, the development of a culture conducive to mentalization runs through all the actions of the project – and, as the literature in this area points out that the fundamental principles of mentalization can be infused in the most diverse interventions, this will also be a unifying theme in the work of the technical team. The concept of NETWORK seeks to represent, therefore, the purpose of enriching links in the school community that work as a support and protective factor for students in their journey, at the same time referring to the idea of a network that supports the inevitable falls that punctuate it. Finally, the term NETWORK allows for the combination of several acronyms, which will be used in different aspects of the project.

According to the jury: “Having as a general line the idea of Mental Health as a dimension of life, this project advocates changes in the mindset of the organization. It intends, therefore, to look at all elements of the community as active agents in Mental Health, identify psychosocial risks, and develop first aid courses”.


Piaget Institute of Almada

Project: Knots and the Ties – Mental Health Promotion in Higher Education

The overall objective of the project is to reduce isolation and increase the sense of belonging through the establishment of meaningful relationships between peers, with the academic community and with the educational institution. The initiative will be co-built with the students in the initial diagnosis phase, which will serve to outline the specific themes to be addressed, meeting the needs of the students. In the execution we will have the direct involvement of the Student Association for the dynamization of the Radio. This project will be multidisciplinary involving the various valences and synergies of IP Almada, namely, the IP Clinic, degree in Sports, in Psychology and the School of Education. These valences will contribute in several areas, with specific actions in the promotion of mental health.

According to the jury: “This project was submitted by a small team and a newly created service. They were realistic in their planning, taking advantage of the resources (human, space and partnerships) already in place. Despite being part of a recent service, the team that proposes this project puts the well-being of students at the center of its concerns, considering the social and cultural context in which it operates.”

Congratulations to all and good work!